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Plans Revealed For World’s First Immersive 5G Festival

Some of the biggest names from across the UK’s arts, entertainment and technology industries have united to create the world’s first ever hybrid 5G festival, which will showcase creative talent backed by the most advanced digital technologies.

The 5G Festival will broadcast live directly to audiences at remote locations from iconic international venues, as well as producing unique immersive in-venue experiences.

The pandemic may have changed the habits and appetites of consumers for the long term, as audiences increasingly look for remote, digital and blended experiences. 5G Festival imagines the “festival of the future” when artists and audiences can gather and connect both in person and online, with the power of 5G to communicate the “live-ness” of the experience wherever you are.

The collaboration is led by Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading advanced digital technology centre and 5G specialist, and brings together Warner Music Group; live arts venue and culture organisation Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, working with Brighton 5G testbed partner Wired Sussex; O2; music production specialists Metropolis Studios (audio mixing, production and venue), Sonosphere (immersive audio and live streaming) and Audiotonix (audio mixing consoles and AoIP networking); and innovative digital technology companies Mativision (5G, 360° immersive live streaming and distribution platform) and LiveFrom (blockchain ticketing).

As part of the £200 million 5G testbeds and trials programme (5GTT) funded by the UK Government, the 5G Festival will produce a 5G powered, live immersive collaboration platform for artists. It will use 5G and its ability to transmit with low latency (delay) and in ultra-high bandwidth alongside Mativision’s proprietary, network-ready 360 ° content distribution platform. This means musicians can perform together from different venues at the same time, in-sync with one another, and global audiences can be reached via their preferred device and in-venue experiences.

In March 2021, an Audiotonix team, led by their live sound and immersive specialist teams from DiGiCo and KLANG:technologies and AoIP network specialists from Calrec, along with Mativision and Sonosphere, conducted the first trials at Brighton Dome to experiment with the effects of audio latency on the performers’ ability to play together. The level of delay was dialled up and down to demonstrate the technology’s power and test the musicians’ and singers’ ability to cope with latency and determine what the delay limits were before a performance fell apart.

The next trials, which will involve musicians in two venues approximately 50 miles apart, will take place during June 2021, with a final showcase event planned for early 2022.

James Gordon, CEO, Audiotonix, commented: “When the opportunity to take an active role in the 5G Festival was presented to Audiotonix, we jumped at the chance. This project will allow a number of our pro audio brands to work together with other leading technology partners to help pioneer the next steps in media creation, delivery and audience experience. Being part of a project that will develop new event opportunities, and help revitalise the welcomed return of audience attended performances, will be a valuable experience for our team and a real positive as we look to the future and 2021“.

Jamie Gosney (pictured), commercial director, Sonosphere, added: “Bringing musicians from around the world together to collaborate and create new music remotely has been a dream of mine for years. This project will make that possible and I couldn’t be more excited that Sonosphere is part of it.”

Anthony Karydis, founder & CEO, Mativision, also said: “The 5G Festival is a natural evolution for Mativision. We have been producing and distributing live performances as immersive experiences to global audiences for more than a decade, and in the past three years, through our involvement in 5G Trials in the UK and Europe, we have 5G-enabled our proprietary immersive content distribution platform. With 5G Festival, we have the opportunity to develop and deliver a game-changing platform which will offer artists the capability to create and produce music without the limitation of their location and deliver to audiences new, uniquely engaging ways to experience and interact with live performances.”